Lead photo: The National Forum of Bangui during the report on ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ in the capital of the Central African Republic on 9 May 2015.
The history of the Central African Republic (CAR) has been riddled with conflict since it was first established in 1960, but the past few years have been particularly upsetting. In December of 2012, fighting between the Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups began causing catastrophe. Towns were burned to the ground. Men were either recruited to fight or were killed. Women were raped, taken as slaves, or slaughtered with their children.
To complicate matters, there truly was never a good or bad side to begin with. The CAR was a poor country at the start and as seen in every major conflict, upheaval occurred when people felt they weren’t treated fairly. Unfortunately, a few bad people started propagating hate that sparked killing and pillaging. Now there is no way to ‘take back’ what has been done. The scale of the situation has spread and over a million lives have been affected in both the CAR and surrounding countries.
While there has been some international response and the storm has seemingly calmed, rebel groups are continuing to fight for power. Some areas are still controlled by armed militias leaving many who need humanitarian assistance unreachable. More than 6,000 lives have been lost since 2012 and the number continues to rise due to violence and humanitarian crises. As long as these groups continue to terrorize the countryside, innocent people will suffer.
An international expert panel of leaders convened today in New York City to launch the Code Blue campaign demanding an end to sexual abuses by UN peacekeeping forces and the automatic immunity they are afforded when abuses occur.
In recent weeks a scathing, formerly classified, report: Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces, was leaked revealing French peacekeeper soldiers sexually abused boys as young as nine during their Central African Republic Sangris operation between December 2013 and June 2014. The report, which was ultimately leaked by a senior UN aid worker and director of operations, Anders Kompass, states that mostly homeless and orphaned boys were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation, including sodomy and rape, by French peacekeepers occurred in exchange for food and money. The abuses allegedly occurred at the renown M’Poko airport in Bangui where thousands retreated to relative safety during the height of the ethnic violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic’s near genocide.
Kompass was subsequently disciplined for breaking UN protocols. Meanwhile, the report was first leaked in July of 2014 and stagnated until it was revealed recently by AIDS-Free World.
The UN, however, contends the peacekeeping soldiers in question are not a part of their operations. “The forces referred to in the Guardian story are French and do not fall under UN authority,” says a UN official. “The issue of confronting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel remains one of our highest priorities.”
A view of internally displaced children at the main mosque in Bangui during the Secretary-General’s visit. It comes as no surprise that many in the international community are now admitting that the Central African Republic, which many believe now rests on the brink of genocide, has been failed entirely. For one, sectarian fighting and ethnic cleansing have not let up. Only 29% of requested funds have … Continue reading Has the Global Community Failed the Central African Republic?
As we watch the crisis in the Central African Republic unfold we cannot sit idly by and simply read the horrific news reports and witness the massive carnage during the evening news. We must raise our collective voices to pressure the international community to further intervene in the mass sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing that are taking place daily in the Central African Republic against … Continue reading We Cannot Stay Silent on the Central African Republic
Happy Martin Luther King Day! To honor his legacy we support Save the Children’s The Real Awards that honors health workers around the world. Today we have several foreign policy as well as global health and development news stories that we found of great interest. If you have read any compelling pieces lately that you think we would enjoy reading please leave them in the comments. … Continue reading Monday Morning Reads: January 20
During the weekend we read global news articles worth reading from media outlets ranging from the New York Times to the Guardian. If you would like to bookmark some of these articles we recommend using Instapaper or Evernote for future reading. The New York Times published a heartbreaking video about the malnutrition crisis that is ongoing in Afghanistan in Afghanistan’s Unexplained Hunger Crisis. Peace talks have officially begun between the … Continue reading Monday Morning Reads
Now that more news organizations and humanitarian agencies are on the ground in Bangui and its surrounding area in the Central African Republic there is more information on Twitter that we can all follow to get a clearer picture about what is happening in real time. As you might know there is increasing sectarian violence in the Central African Republic spurred on by a Muslim … Continue reading Key Resources to Follow for Central African Republic News, Updates #CARCrisis
Since I last wrote about the growing violence in the Central African Republic, things have made a marked turn for the worse. Even with a reported 7600 French (1600) and African Union (6000) troops on the ground and with United States’ air support inter-religious violence between Muslims and Christians has escalated into all-out militia and vigilante warfare. Children as young as eleven are picking up … Continue reading An Update on Central African Republic’s Growing Violence, Humanitarian Response
Reports are flashing across the wires that Central African Republic is embroiled in massive inter-religious violence that is mere stages away from full-on genocide. A coup in March saw Muslim rebels overthrow then president François Bozizé. Now, Central African Republic is being led by an interim president, Michel Djotodia. Djtodia is the country’s first Muslim president. Muslims make up about 15% of the population in the … Continue reading Central African Republic Descends into Religious Violence, Nears Genocide
Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse in central Africa, especially given all of the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on December 10 the Seleka militia (a combined force of four rebel groups) marched toward Central Africa Republic’s capital, Bangui, to oppose CAR’s current president, President Francois Bozizé. The Seleka militia claims Bozizé reneged on his promise of peace talks made in … Continue reading Tumult Renewed in Central African Republic, Child Soldiers Recruited